“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”
— Carl Rogers
Sometimes, it matters who someone is quoting. It doesn’t make the advice less meaningful if a city maintenance worker said it or the Pope, but sometimes, it can provide a sense of where the quote might be coming from–its direction of sorts. Carl Rogers was the creator of client centered counseling. Today, this is a widely used approach in the realm of counseling. He believed people were fundamentally good and wanted to do the best they could. He believed we all would like to meet our potential in life.
Client centered means exactly that: therapy based on the client, not what the therapist thinks. He didn’t think of people as patients, but rather as participants in their own healing. Talk therapy is a large part of this theory or approach. Rogers believed that if a therapist could give genuine, honest feedback to their clients based on what the client shares with them, that the client’s problems would diminish (he didn’t believe people needed to be ‘cured’). Therapists or social workers treat their clients with complete respect, or ‘unconditional positive regard’. This in fact is the method of social work I learned. I am a natural for this field. I believe much of what Carl Rogers theorized–it is who I am, it’s what I believe.
I don’t know that everyone can be cured, (and yes I think some need to be) but I do believe that we all would like the best for ourselves. I think we all do the best we have with the life and tools we have been given–and if given better tools, we try to do better.
Too many times life hands us a situation, sometimes a hopeless situation, and we just stay there–as if that is our station in life, like we are just supposed to be there. I don’t believe any of us were meant to lead a life of just being or a life of indifference or a life of suffering. We don’t have to sit here and dwell and be. We need to stand up, dust ourselves off, and decide this isn’t it. There is more. We have more to see, more to do–more life to live. Our direction is forward; we were never meant to sit still.
Carl Rogers never said you had to do it alone. We all have situations where we need help. Taking care of my grandparents is one of those. I could never do it alone. I have trouble doing it with help. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and the process seems futile. I don’t just sit on it though. I own the situation, the feelings, the struggles, and then, I keep going.
Aim your compass, and start moving in the right direction.